Entry-level certifications expose you to the basics principles of cybersecurity, best practices in the field, important tools used in this industry and exposure to the latest and emerging technologies. They can help you get your first IT job and ensure your compliance with DoD 8570 or government credentialing requirements.

Once one has the basics down and job experience, it may be time to move up the ladder and get an intermediate or expert-level certification.

Regardless of the type of certification and level, they generally all share these three traits:

  • Credentialing usually consists of training and passing a final exam.
  • It must be renewed every three or four years on average.
  • Renewing a credential not only requires having continuing education credits, but also passing the exam current at the time of renewal.

Quite frequently we hear on the news about another data breach in some company and the personal information stolen as a result. Information Security (IS) is one area of cybersecurity that is exploding now and will continue well into the future. According to a 2017 report by Cyber Seek, in the U.S alone, there were approximately 285,000 unfilled job openings with almost 750,000 already working cybersecurity jobs. This compares to 209,000 unfilled positions just three years ago. CSO predicts by 2021 unfilled job openings in the U.S. alone will be estimated at around 500,000.

The reason for the extreme shortage is the demand for cybersecurity people is far outpacing the supply of trained people. If thinking about getting into this field, the top five requested certifications for IS job openings in 2017 across the industry were:

  • Comp TIA Security+
  • GSEC – GIAC Security Essentials Certification
  • CISSP – Certified Information Systems Professional
  • CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CISM – Certified Information System Manager

The first two are often considered entry-level certifications. The number of IT certifications is so great, it is to your advantage to speak with a recruiter or individuals already working in the industry to see what they would recommend.

Information security is an excellent field for military members or veterans with IT experience who are looking for a career change. They can use their GI Bill to help pay for training and reimbursement for exam costs to get certified. If this field interests you, start training now and get a certification matching your job interest. A job is waiting for you!

Note: As of the time of this writing ClearanceJobs had over 2,500 IT security job openings alone.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.